Since the new attack on Obama's pastor was unleashed last night, I have noticed that every diary started on the topic gets the diarist accused of concern trolling and while others insist that this is "no big deal". I think that is really just wishful thinking and this story will almost definitely become an issue. First of all, I think this whole thing is bullshit. You could show clips of any religious leader, spliced together out of context to show something sinister. But, rather than stick our heads in the sand, I wanted to create a thread to discuss strategies for combating this attack and discuss the issue constructively, and talk about what I have been doing.
My thoughts below the fold
First of all, if you have seen the clip of this segment on Good Morning America (I think it was) the Obama campaign does have a response. They had Shaun Casey who is a religious professor defending Obama's relationship to Wright and the Church. He said that Obama has repudiated the controversial comments and then pointed out that John Mccain's pastor and George Bush's crazy pastors aren't getting the same scrutiny.
I think that having someone from the campaign there to provide context for these kind of segments is key. What makes this story so potentially explosive is that it's so freaking easy to play a clip of something over and over again, while having your pundits discuss it, without the context offered by someone like Shaun Casey. I think that as long as they do give the Obama campaign a chance to respond, the story is not so bad.
I do think that Obama HIMSELF should respond, and I imagine that they know that. This is what I wrote and send to the Obama campaign last night (as a possible response):
"Rev. Wright is now retired but he was my pastor for a number of years. I think the best way to explain my relationship to him is sort of like, as anyone can relate, having an older family member who says things that I don't agree with sometimes. Who has a different world view and perspective than mine. And you know...sometimes you kind of stay quiet to keep the peace, but sometimes you'll try to convert them over to your side, and usually you just end up having the same argument over and over again. Rev Wright is someone who has created a church community that is really beloved. Trinity has members of all races, is one of the most progressive and activist churches in Chicago, and I am very proud to be a member of the congregation. Rev. Wright is not our pastor anymore and he very clearly doesn't represent the tone or views of my campaign. For me, he has always been a religious figure and our views of the world are very different."
Giving the context that Trinity is a beloved church that has an incredibly positive role in the community while distancing themselves from Rev Wright. That is more or less the strategy that I think Obama should take. As to why Trinity is a really great church, here is Jane Fissler-Hoffman talking about why she and her husband are members.
That is pretty much my response to this attack. I think it's important to respond forcefully, and I think we are actually lucky that it's out now and not later. Post whatever actions you think Obama should take and use this thread to brainstorm.